Looks like EA’s getting increasingly more confident about BioWare’s upcoming shared world shooter, Anthem, and how it will perform for them, in commercial terms. EA announced during an investors call for their Q2 2019 earnings meeting that their initial expectations for sales from the game were probably a bit on the low side, but that they have now increased expectations for sales from Anthem.
EA CFO Blake Jorgensen started by saying that EA expects the total number of full game downloads to increase by 20 to 25 per cent, which is “significantly above” their initial expectations, thanks to the upcoming Anthem, which EA expects will have a large portion of its sales on the digital front.
“Net bookings from full-game downloads are expected to grow 20% to 25%,” said Jorgensen. “This is significantly above our original expectations, primarily driven by the strength we are seeing in Anthem, which we expect to skew strongly digital, plus the digital shifts for our other titles. We continue to model an underlying shift of around 5 percentage points a year to digital.”
He also went on to say that EA expects their earnings in Q4 of 2019 (January 2019 – March 2019) to be stronger than expected, thanks to higher expectations from both, Anthem, as well as the mobile exclusive Command and Conquer: Rivals, which releases in December of 2018.
Subsequently, when asked about what has given EA increased confidence in Anthem’s performance, Jorgensen stated that they’re “very excited about Anthem“, and that their initial expectations from the game were probably on the low side. He said: “We think it’s a fabulous game, and you’ll see a lot more of it to come after we get out of this holiday window into early next year. And I think our original expectations of the game were probably too low, and thus we think that’s important.”
In response to another similar question, Jorgensen mentioned that since Anthem is a brand new IP, EA had initially forecasted lower numbers for it, but seeing the reception and excitement surrounding the game among audiences, they have now increased their expectations.
“Anthem, it’s a brand-new IP,” he said. “And so when we originally forecasted it, we forecasted it at a pretty low level, as we thought about without a lot of information. That was last May or April when we put that forecast together.”
“As we’ve gotten deeper into the final parts of the game and we had it tested with a lot of people, clearly the excitement is building,” he continued. “It started building at E3 as people learned what the game was and saw it. And so typically, when you’re forecasting a brand-new IP, you usually start lower and then build that forecast over time, and that’s essentially what we’ve done.
“We’re getting excitement both internally and externally about the game. As Andrew [Wilson, EA CEO] mentioned, it’s very different than anything BioWare has built in the past. It looks stunning and it plays extremely well. And that’s what’s given us more confidence around the forecast.”
Anthem launches on February 22, 2019 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 20 minutes of gameplay footage from the game were recently shown off, while BioWare is also going to reveal even more footage for the game in November through a livestream.